Guess Who Moved to Lyon? + A useful computer term in French
La Colocation: Jackie's house-share in Lyon is featured in the evening news!

"Bisettes"- a favorite new word + photo essay with family updates

La ciotat winter
End of winter in La Ciotat. By the way, have you ever wondered how to pronounce the name of our town? Listen to the sound file and find out....

I loved the French word bisette the moment I learned it and am using it now in email endings in place of "amicalement" (unless you are the IRS or some such other). See an example at the end of this post. 


    : kisses
synonyms for bisette include bécot (peck) and bise (kiss)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

My goal is to write one essay per week chronicling our family life in France. But how to pick among the many little happenings both meaningful and dull? It isn't that our life is exciting, it's that when I look back decades from now I hope to have captured the right fragments de vie--enough to ignite more memories.

This may be why I ditched today's essay on sourdough starter . Levain! While the topic has enraptured my mind, I'm betting it isn't something you (or Future Me) are passionate about. So for today, I've decided to do a photo essay instead--and update us all on my family. Let's begin with Chief Grape...

Jean-marc puzzle
Jean-Marc. This his favorite T-shirt and doing a puzzle...Do you remember when we called him "Chief Grape"--after he took on his first vineyard? Two vineyards and one wine shop later, my husband is still pursuing wine, c-à-d, he is doing a little bit of export and offering personalized wine tours (contact him at if you are interested in a wine tour). Jean-Marc is also excited to be making more wine in 2023 via two more Ephemera wine projects in France.

Max taking some plant starts
Max. Our 27-year-old swung by this week to dig up some plants from our garden to use chez lui. Jules and I helped Max transfer irises, rosemary, a baby aloe vera, and an avocado plant into these terracotta pots. Next, our aspiring green thumb invited Mom and me back to his condo, which Jules could not stop raving about. She loved the couch. She loved the kitchen. She loved the dining table. And she would love to babysit the place next time Max is out of town. Hint, hint, hint, if you're reading this Max....
Max and kristi march 2023
My firstborn and me.

Neptune plant
Jackie. Our 25-year-old is settled now in Lyon. She's finished the first week of computer school and is finding her way around. Jackie spent the cash Jules gave her on this lively plant which, désormais, will be called "Neptune" (after Jackie's interest in outer space. The unfathomable size of space is comforting as it puts life's stresses into perspective, according to J.).

 Jules a.k.a. Mama Jules or Mom is doing a little better after overdoing it. These flowers are for her. Mom's recent walk turned into a chase when she tried to help an errant photographer capture the right model (a certain exotic pedestrian and her prize dog who slipped the photographer's notice and were now halfway to the Vieux-Port). But by the time Jules caught up to the would-be mannequin it was too late--the spontaneous moment was lost, and the photographer was long gone.). Now Mom is recovering in bed, dreaming of her own camera. I think Jules would be an excellent street photographer. Don't you?

Kristi in garden with lili
Getting some vitamin D with Lili the cat, and enjoying the "tidy" part of our garden after JM and I carried hundreds of buckets of gravel, over the past week, to this area of the jardin. Now to keep the leaves off of it. (The wine barrels will be used to grow tomatoes.)

I hope you enjoyed today's photo update (or maybe an essay on yeast would've been more to your liking?). I leave you with my new favorite French word and hope you'll get a lot of use out of it in your emails or internet correspondence. I'm off now to geek out over some sourdough starter. It's like a whole galaxy in a jar!

Grosses bisettes,


A galaxy in a jar. It is amazing how flour + water = levain, or sourdough starter. I love the idea of "harvesting yeast" from the air, from the flour, from who knows where. In only 4 days the flour/water fermentation was active enough to use in some bread dough and the resulting loaf was delicious. (photo from a previous go at sourdough)

Follow me on Instagram or here on Facebook to ensure you are receiving the weekly posts (which don't always end up in your emails--owing to filters, a full inbox, and other issues beyond our control). Thanks for reading and on with the French word for the day... 

Listen to the following list via this audio recording:

Click here for the audio file

La Ciotat = a town near Cassis, in southern France
bisettes = kisses
amicalement = yours
le bécot = kiss, peck
la bise
= kiss
les fragments de vie
= pieces of life
le levain = starter, sourdough starter
(c'est-à-dire) = that is to say
désormais = from now on
le mannequin = model
grosses bisettes = big kisses


Tourterelles mama papa french dove birds
Jules's wild doves, Mama (left, with the white feather on her left wing...) and Papa. 

Lili napping on chair
Lili the cat having a siesta on the side porch, near the shoe rack beside our front door.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety